Category: habits

Plant a seed for Future You + 9 ideas to get you started

Planting seeds for future you is one of the best self-development, self-care tips out there. Click through for tips on maintaining motivation and productivity!
“I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. I mean, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for you.”

I sniff noisily into my Kleenex.

“Like, NONE of this.”

This is not a conversation I have out loud. I do, however, have some version of this conversation in my mind with my 2008 self on a regular basis.

My 2008 self – that scrappy, newly-single, saddled with $50,000 of school debt self – had the gumption and forethought to plant the seeds for the life I have today.

My 2008 self paid $375 a month on her school loans, even when she was living on her own and her take-home pay was $2,000 a month.

My 2008 self spent every lunch hour leaving comments on other blogs, building friendships and professional relationships I still have today.

My 2008 self slathered on moisturizer with SPF every day, even though she thought she didn’t need it. Even when it was overcast and cold.

And my 2018 self is reaping the benefits. Thanks Former Self! You’re the best! I love you!

I not exactly a bastion of forethought. I’m actually the captain of the S.S. Instant Gratification. Left to my less-great inclinations, I head up team Why Don’t I See Results Yet Let’s Give Up.

But at the risk of really running this metaphor into the ground, that’s not how seeds or plants or plans work.

I’d never plant a marigold seed and return the next day expecting a flower. I wouldn’t dig up the seeds after two days and yell at them. I’d water them and give them the time, space, and sun they needed to grow.

We'd never plant a seed and expect a flower the next day. Plant seeds for Future You and then step back, have patience, and give them time to grow. Click To Tweet

In my course Bank Boost* we do something called an Earning Spree. For six weeks, we get out of our comfort zones together and do all sorts of things to bring in extra money. Some of the things we do bring immediate dollars. We sell old sports equipment on Craigslist. We start driving for Lyft.

But we also plant seeds for our future selves, for our future financial health. We send pitches. We run promotions. We finally post about our dog-sitting services on Facebook and Nextdoor. We ask for a raise or send out feelers for a new job.

And maybe the results are not quite as immediate as finally selling that Nordic-track, but they add up. They bloom into something wonderful.

9 ways to plant seeds for Future You

1. Set up an auto-transfer from your checking account to your savings. $15 a month. $75. Maybe your savings account is in another bank so you’re less likely to fuss with it. Slowly but surely, you’ll build a nest-egg without even thinking about it.

2. If there’s something that dramatically improves your life but you always forget to buy – vitamins, new toothbrush heads, non-hole-y underwear – sign up for a monthly subscription service that delivers those life-improving things to your doorstep.

Or just buy them in bulk.

3. Similarly, if there’s a service that dramatically improves your life and you go too long between appointments – therapy, massages, car detailing – schedule your next appointment as you finish your current one. If you really want to create accountability, pre-pay so you don’t skip out.

4. Create a habit of sending one ‘reach out’ message every day. A DM on social media telling someone you appreciate their work, an email to someone you met at a conference. Future You will have an amazing network of friends and professional peers.

5. When you know you’ve got a tough time coming up, sit down with your calendar and literally schedule breaks and fun into your month. In three weeks, you’ll be so glad you had the foresight to schedule that matinee with your sister or that quiet night at home.

6. Put granola bars (or another snack of your choice) in your bag, in your desk, and in your glove compartment. I swear to you, doing this saves me hundreds of dollars every year and prevents so many mid-afternoon-out-and-about Taco Bell runs.

7. Open your calendar for 2019 and block off one weekend each quarter. What are you going to do on those weekends? Who knows? But since you’ve saved the space, it’s less likely that you’ll reach the end of the year saying “I never took that trip!”

8. Got an idea? Buy the url.

9. Going on a trip or vacation? Put fresh sheets on the bed, make sure you’ve got some pizza in the freezer, and schedule an Instacart delivery for a few hours after you get home.

I want to hear from you! What seeds did Former You plant that you’re now harvesting? What seeds can you plant right now? Tell us in the comments to create public accountability!

* The live version of Bank Boost opens for enrollment on January 3rd. Last time, it sold out in four days! Click here to get on the wait list so you have first dibs.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

My Weird ‘3 Year’ Rule + How I Used It To Jump-start Change

Looking for a trick to break bad habits? Want to build good habits but not sure where to start? Click through for habit building tips you've never heard before!
It’s 3 am on a Wednesday night in 2016 and I’m awake. Again. As per the usual.

I stare at the ceiling and try to do those breathing exercises you read about in Real Simple, but get bored and give up. I toss and turn and huff and puff and make lists in my mind of various things I need to do when I finally get out of bed.

Mend that sweater.
Send that thank-you note.
Figure out LinkedIn – do I even need it?

Eventually, I fall into a distracted, light sleep and wake up poorly rested and cranky. I drink coffee all day to counteract the exhaustion and the entire process repeats itself that night.

Wake at 3 am. Toss for an hour and a half. Fall back into a sub-par sleep. Wake up feeling awful.

For a long time – years! – I slept poorly. But it didn’t seem like a big deal. Everybody I knew seemed to be low-key exhausted. Everybody fell asleep in front of Netflix at 2 am. Everybody shared memes about coffee.

And then one day, I happened upon this article and this collection of sentences:

The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.

After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.

Oh, what’s that? You mean my daily choices could slowly add up to a heart attack or stroke or depression? That thing I don’t think is a big deal will become a big deal if I do it every day for years?

Confronted with these rather terrifying findings, I pretty quickly changed my ways. I used the very same methods I teach in Habit School to give up caffeine completely. And I bought this. Now I sleep like a baby 90% of the time.

Carrie Bradshaw-like, this got me thinking: where would I be in three years if I kept the exact same habits I have today? What would my life look like if I did those things – those “not a big deal” things – every day for three years?

Imagine it.

Imagine eating dinner standing over the sink every night for three years.

Or 1,000 days of Instagram stalking our exes.

Or 1,000 days of making excuses about why we haven’t finished that project we were so excited about.

We humans love to overestimate the positive effects of our (very) occasional good choices. We work out for two days and expect to have a six pack. We use one coupon and think we’ve topped off our Roth IRAs. We take a three-day break from social media and think we’re ready to join a Buddhist monastery. <- hello, I’m talking about myself.

Meanwhile, we convince ourselves that we’re doing these non-great things “just for today” or “just because it’s the busy season” or “because it’s the holidays.” It’s been scientifically proven that we chronically underestimate our own alcohol use, spending, and social media use.

This sounds awful and terrifying, doesn’t it? Like a ghost from Christmas future, pointing its bony finger at a calendar and hissing “This. This is the date you started “just swinging into Target after work” and now you’ve done it every day for three years. You are drowning in throw pillows and credit card debt.”
Think of your less-than-great habits. Imagine you did them every day for three years. What would your life look like? If you don’t like the way it would look, maybe it’s time to make a change. <3 Click To TweetBut I’m not sharing my weird three-year rule to scare you! When I saw that sleep study and was forced to confront the impact of my sleep habits, I was finally motivated to make real changes. Under eye bags and a coffee addiction weren’t enough. Realizing the long term impact of my daily habits was.

Picture November 28th, 2021. Are you the person you want to be?

I want to hear from you! How do you get yourself to take action on change? What’s motivated you to finally break your worst habits?

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Everything is socially contagious (and what to do about it)

Just about everything in life - spending, mindset, habit, even health - is socially contagious. When we know that, we can plan accordingly. Click through for tips that will help you save money, build good habits, and change your mindset!
It’s Saturday night and I’m cuddled into the corner of my friend’s couch. The wine is flowing, the fireplace is roaring, and we’re all picking at the post-dinner party cheese tray.

We’ve progressed to the part of the night where enough time has passed (and enough wine has been consumed), that we’ve given ourselves over to gossip.

We’ve talked about That Couple’s divorce and That Friend’s propensity towards oversharing on Facebook.

Gossiping and passing judgement are my greatest vices and the character traits I like least in myself. But the gossip is contagious and before I know it, I’m saying things I shouldn’t and sharing stories that are absolutely not mine to share.


Of course, I take 99% of the responsibility for this behavior but the truth is, that quote we see on Pinterest is REAL. We are, in fact, the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Pretty much everything humans do is socially contagious.

We’re pack animals! We evolved to live in groups, to cooperate and collaborate with others so we could, like, get the best cave, the best Mastodon drumstick, and not get exiled to the dark, cold tundra.

So it makes sense that everything, ever is socially contagious. We’re ‘safer’ when we’re behaving like the people around us. But what happens when our friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers make choices that aren’t right for us?

What happens when we ‘catch’ habits and behaviors that actually push us further from the people we want to be?

Habits that are socially contagious


Why You Should ‘Indiana Jones’ Your Bad Habit + How To Do It

Want to break a bad habit? Replace your bad habit rather than trying to go cold turkey or be too virtuous! Click through for ideas about less-bad habits you can use to replace your bad ones!


“You know what? I think I’m ready to do it.” We’re driving back to Minneapolis after a long cabin weekend and my never-ending yammering about habits and goals has my friend all riled up.

“I’m gonna do it for real this time,” he nods. “I’ve got this terrible habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning and I’m going to go cold turkey.” He passes an old Nissan and takes a sip of his gas station coffee.

“I’m going to stop checking my phone and start meditating! Yes!” He slaps the steering wheel.

“Oh dude, you don’t have to do that,” I tell him. “Why don’t you just Indiana Jones it?”

Unsurprisingly, this makes zero sense to my friend. So I elaborate.

“You’ve seen Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, right?” (This is a trick question because we’re both children of the 80s and OBVIOUSLY HE’S SEEN IT.)

“Indiana Jones doesn’t just, like, snatch the golden idol and leave that pedestal empty. He replaces the it with a bag of sand that’s about the same size and weight.”

Now, leaving aside the fact that it’s, uh, pretty problematic that Indiana Jones is stealing ancient artifacts from indigenous people and his sandbag swap triggers a series of booby traps, I think what he does nicely illustrates something we should do when we’re trying to break bad habits. Instead of trying to break a bad habit cold turkey or replace it with something painfully virtuous, what if we swapped in something slightly less ‘bad’? Click To Tweet (more…)

How Much Is Your Habit Worth In Dollars? (Mine’s worth $280,000)

Wondering about habits to start? Thinking about which healthy habits would improve your life? When you know how much your habit is worth, it's easier to commit to it! Click through to read more.
My hands are a little sweaty as I click the ‘send’ button.

I pace around the living room, giving myself a pep talk. “You know what? Maybe this is what will get people to pay attention. I know it’s supposedly tacky to talk about but I think it’s important and I’m glad I did it. Yup? Yup. Yuuuuup.”

What did I do?


The LIVE version of Make It Stick Habit School is open for enrollment!

Friend, let me cut to the chase:

The live version of my super popular course Make It Stick Habit School is open for enrollment today!

Why are we running it live? Because self-paced online courses have a 3% completion rate and we can do better than that.

At at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, when you change your habits, you change your life.

But I bet you already know that, don’t you?

And I bet you’re totally aware of the bad habits that are pushing you further from your goals. But maybe you can’t make habit change stick?

When you try to change things on your own it might look like:

  • drinking smoothies every morning for a few days and then falling off the wagon
  • resisting Netflix binges for a few weeks, but then you have a bad day and you’re back at it
  • seeing other people who seem to have all figured out; you wonder what they know that you don’t

“I loved Habit School! 1. Because it helped me realize why all my other good habits have slid right off me. And 2. because it actually. Made. Good. Habits. STICK! I’m not kidding you. It just worked, and it made me feel amazing.

I’ve been able to replicate that same success over and over, with little habits that I was so discouraged about not being able to accomplish before. It is a whole new way of looking at how you behave, and it has really and truly helped me make steps towards being the Nora I want to be.”   – Nora M.

You look at other people and find yourself thinking:

“How can she go running every morning? Doesn’t she ever want to sleep in?”

“He never seems tempted to order a third beer. Why not? Where does he get all that self-control?”

“Every day she unpacks some impressive salad she brought from home and I’m over here with my mediocre $10 deli sandwich. Why can’t I be like that?”

Make It Stick Habit School is your bridge from knowing better to DOING better.

You already know what you should be doing. You just need your brain and body listen. This 6-step system and course will help you understand how to make habit change stick – for good.

With Sarah’s humor, humility, and science-backed strategies, I haven’t missed a workout since I took Habit School.

I know I’ll miss a day eventually, but Habit School has also prepared me to lessen the impact of that by planning alternate activities and, most importantly, going easy on myself.”    – Bobby S.

Habit School is $97. Here’s how we do it + what you get:

  • A private Facebook group for support + camaraderie
  • Weekly accountability check-ins
  • 4 live q & as
  • 8 module video course + workbook
  • Weekly emails to keep you motivated + moving

Because we do all this in real time with lots of support, I limit enrollment to 250 new students. 15 of those seats have already been snapped up by people in my Facebook group! So if you’re keen, you might want to grab your seat now!

Class starts October 15th! If you’d like to get your good habits on lock-down before the craziness of the holidays, this is for you.